(No) Butter Tarts

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Butter Tarts were my second favourite Christmas treat as a kid and when I went vegan a few years ago I didn’t even bother checking for a way to make butter tarts vegan. Not only did they seem unapproachable from what I assumed was a labour intensive process, but their very name defies vegan… I expected them to rely heavily on butter for the pastry and eggs for the filling.

With trying a few different recipes and adding my own flair to capture that taste I remembered, I finally came up with this version. I have found, through feeding my butter tarts to numerous people that there are some serious splitting of camps – those who like them runny and those who like them solid. A few other less serious camps also exist: raisins/nuts or not? spices or not? super sweet or not?

My butter tart recipe is more toward the runny side, has raisins, currants and pecans, lots of spice and not overrun with sugar. If you like yours more solid, cook the tarts a little longer. Feel free to omit the raisins and nuts if you like and cut back on the spice.

I hope you enjoy these amazing Canadian (and vegan) wonders!

INGREDIENTS:

Tart shells:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups frozen Earth Balance
Cold water

Filling:
3/4 cup raisins/currants, soaked in hot water for 10-15 mins and then drained
1/2 cup chopped pecans/walnuts
2 tbsp EnerG whipped with 1/4 cup of warm water
3/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp allspice (optional)
1/4 tsp cloves (optional)

1) First start with preparing the dough for the tart shells. Chill the flour and blender in the freezer with the Earth Balance for at least half an hour.

2) Cut Earth Balance into the flour with a pastry knife until the mixture is coarse. Use your hands to press the ingredients together between your fingers until crumbly.

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3) Add cold water gradually until the dough clumps. Do not overdo this! Only add as much water as will keep the dough together.

4) Form a ball of dough, wrap in saran wrap or a clean kitchen towel and refrigerate for an hour. When the dough has chilled use a rolling pin to roll out the dough on a generously floured surface. The dough should reach about 1/4″. I use a cookie cutter to cut the cups out of the dough but you could find other circle shaped objects will do the same (hint: a cup could work!). Grease the muffin tin before putting tarts shells in.

5) When the dough has sufficiently chilled and you are ready to fill the tarts, preheat the oven to 350. Sprinkle the raisins and nuts (if you’re using them) into the shells.

6) Using an electric mixer beat the EnerG egg replacer mixture with the rice syrup, vinegar, vanilla, cornstarch, sugar and salt.

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7) Stir in the melted Earth Balance. Pour the mixture into the prepared tart shells. Be careful not to overfill the tarts because the syrup, if it overflows, will cause the tart shells to stick to the pan.
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8) Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on how runny you like your tarts – less time will produce runnier tarts). Be careful not to burn them.

Yield: approx 1 dozen butter tarts.

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